Hello Games: Success as an indie hinges on Steam, XBLA and PSN
Sean Murray, boss of Hello Games, has emphasised the key role that the major digital download platforms, namely XBLA, PSN and Steam, have to play in the success of independent developers.
Murray, whose studio scored a hit on PSN with their first title Joe Danger, explained that, without support from at least one of these major platforms, success for an indie developer is extremely difficult.
He began saying: "I think without the support of at least one of those outlets, the chances of success are reduced from tiny to almost non-existent.. I think that if you talked to other indie developers, they might say, 'we've been turned down by Steam, or XBLA or PSN'. It's a really common thing to hear, but it's also often a real finishing blow for any studio."
"Often people are 100 per cent relying on it," he elaborated. "Not just their approval process, but with someone like Apple you are 100 per cent reliant on them promoting your game. Without that, the service is nothing. It's the same for Steam, it's the same for XBLA, PSN - being on their services is only worth the amount of promotion that you're going to be blessed with."
Murray added: "I think they are also in complete control of that scene, in complete control of the output of indie developers. It's kind of a scary place, but I think we're certainly lucky to have them. If you look at the last generation, you couldn't make a PS2 game unless you were with a publisher and had a pretty sizeable team. There were no other options."